Ben Falcone has admitted that he had no idea what we was doing when he directed his debut feature film Tammy back in 2014.
The writer and actor, who subsequently went on to direct his wife Melissa McCarthy in “The Boss” and now “Life Of The Party,” made this admission to me over the phone when I talked to him about their latest comedy.
After I asked what he had learnt from “Tammy,” Falcone responded, “For myself, I didn’t know what I was doing. That’s a start. For ‘Tammy,’ I knew what coverage was. I’d done enough acting to know what coverage was.”
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“But I am a writer and an actor. I think that any time a writer says, ‘This is my material and I know how to portray it on the screen.’ You have to have the confidence to do it. But you should also have the objectivity to know that you need some help.”
“So during ‘Tammy’ New Line were smart enough to bring in a producer called Rob Cowan, who basically showed and taught me how to shoot movies. And this other producer Chris Henchy, who is one of the smartest, most veteran producers around.”
“So we had two incredible resources for me while I was basically learning on the fly. Hopefully I am learning more and more and more and more.”
“The basic answer is the difference was we were on a whole different scale. I didn’t know exactly how to do it, so I turned to people that did.”
As you’d expect, over the course of “The Boss” and “Life Of The Party” Falcone believes that he has learnt a tremendous amount, especially when it comes to the importance of editing.
“I certainly hope that I have learned a lot. You learn a lot editing a movie. Almost more than when you are shooting it. When you see all of the pieces that you have. And what works the best and what doesn’t.”
“So I felt like with ‘Life Of The Party’ we were in pretty good shape from a script stand point. Because I felt like we had a pretty good beginning, middle and end, and I liked the journey that Diane goes on. So I felt prepared in that way.”
“And because I had just finished cutting ‘The Boss.’ And ‘Tammy’ not long before. Me and Melissa both felt that we were in a groove. Because we had been putting these movies together.”
“So when you are first creating it, you can’t be editing yourself while you are writing. So when you have a scene that is just two people talking, it might be funny dialogue, but it’s not going to make the movie if it doesn’t propel the story forward. Just simple stuff like that. That we should have known. And we do know."
“But when you have just come out of post you are really aware of it. In a lot of ways we are really hard on ourselves at the script process so it makes it a little bit easier during production.”
You can see how much Falcone and McCarthy have progressed as filmmakers when “Life Of The Party” is released on May 11.